India, Indonesia to strengthen ties: Manmohan Singh

Jakarta, Oct.11 (ANI): Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday said India and Indonesia have agreed to strengthen strategic partnership in each of the five major dimensions namely political, security, economic, people-to-people and international issues. "In our discussions today, we reaffirmed the importance of our Strategic Partnership for our two countries and our region. We expressed satisfaction with progress in our relations and outlined an ambitious course for the future," he said. "To this end, President Yudhoyono and I have agreed to deepen our partnership in each of the five major dimensions of our relationship: political, security, economic, people-to-people and international issues," he added. He also said that Indonesia is one of India's most valued partners in our Look East Policy, and added that the bilateral relations are rich in potential and growing rapidly. " As two large democracies and major emerging economies, we have many convergent interests and responsibilities in bilateral, regional and global forums. As maritime neighbours along one of the most critical sea links in the world, we also have shared interests in maritime security," he said. He further said that the two countries have agreed to continue the process of intensifying political exchanges, and stressed the early implementation of bilateral initiatives. "To this end, we have directed our officials to evolve a comprehensive action plan for meaningful and mutually beneficial security cooperation," he added. Dr. Singh appealed for early ratification by Indonesia of the Extradition Treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, to resolve to boost bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, organized crime, drug and human trafficking and counterfeiting. "The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Disaster Management and Combating Narcotics Trafficking signed today will also give more substance to our growing security cooperation," he said. He also conveyed to the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that measures to increase trade and encourage investments, besides early conclusion of a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would greatly expand and diversify the economic relations between the two countries. "The fourfold growth in bilateral trade in the last seven years reflects the vast potential of our economic relations. We agreed that improved connectivity, early implementation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be important in this regard," he said. He further said that the two countries took note of the valuable space cooperation and looked forward to strengthening it in future. "I conveyed to the President our offer to assist the Indonesian Government in setting up a Vocational Training Centre in Papua, after the successful experience of those established in Jakarta and Banda Aceh," he added. Dr. Singh also said the two countries have decided to establish Chairs of Indian and Indonesian Studies in each other's universities, and further expand programme of scholarships, facilitate linkages among educational institutions and encourage partnerships in training and research. He also appreciated President Yudhoyono's valuable suggestions for cooperation in the fields of food security and counter-terrorism between India and ASEAN at the India-ASEAN Summit yesterday in Brunei. " I conveyed to President Yudhoyono our appreciation for Indonesia's strong support for the evolution of India's Strategic Partnership with ASEAN. We value Indonesia's leadership role in the ASEAN and the Association's effort in fostering broader regional cooperation and integration. Dr. Singh reiterated that India-ASEAN partnership is a force for peace and shared prosperity in the region. "We also look forward to working closely with Indonesia in important regional, multilateral and global forums. I am confident that our discussions and the agreements we have signed today will add new meaning and content to the strategic partnership between India and Indonesia," he added. (ANI)